The Official 2020 Bernie Sanders Thread

Rembrandt Brown

BGOL Investor
Bernie Sanders Speech on Democratic Socialism & Economic Rights (6/12/19)

Bernie Sanders defines his vision for democratic socialism in the United States

Sanders gave a speech on this in 2015. Now he’s back, calling for a new era of New Deal politics.
By Tara Golshan
Jun 12, 2019

On Wednesday afternoon, Bernie Sanders gave a speech defining democratic socialism at George Washington University. This is the second major speech he has given on this subject, the first being in 2015 during his first bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

A lot has changed since then. Sanders has gone from being a national unknown to a household name, consistently following former Vice President Joe Biden in polls on the Democratic primary. His progressive policy platform is at the center of the Democratic political discourse.

And, of course, Donald Trump is president.

A lot, however, hasn’t changed. The Vermont senator’s definition of democratic socialism remains the fight for economic freedom — one that ensures health care, a living wage, a full education, housing, and a clean environment.

“Over 80 years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped create a government that made transformative progress in protecting the needs of working families. Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion,” he said. “This is the unfinished business of the Democratic Party and the vision we must accomplish.”

Below is a transcript of Sanders’s remarks, courtesy of his presidential campaign.

My friends, we are in the midst of a defining and pivotal moment for our country and our planet. And, with so many crises converging upon us simultaneously, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed or depressed — or to even throw up our hands in resignation.

But my message to you today is that if there was ever a moment in the history of our country where despair was not an option, this is that time.

If there was ever a moment where we had to effectively analyze the competing political and social forces which define this historical period, this is that time.

If there was ever a moment when we needed to stand up and fight against the forces of oligarchy and authoritarianism, this is that time.

And, if there was ever a moment when we needed a new vision to bring our people together in the fight for justice, decency and human dignity, this is that time.

In the year 2019 the United States and the rest of the world face two very different political paths. On one hand, there is a growing movement towards oligarchy and authoritarianism in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a significant part of the economy and exert enormous influence over the political life of our country.

On the other hand, in opposition to oligarchy, there is a movement of working people and young people who, in ever increasing numbers, are fighting for justice.

They are the teachers taking to the streets to make certain that schools are adequately funded and that their students get a quality education.

They are workers at Disney, Amazon, Walmart and the fast food industry standing up and fighting for a living wage of at least $15 an hour and the right to have a union.

They are young people taking on the fossil fuel industry and demanding policies that transform our energy system and protect our planet from the ravages of climate change.

They are women who refuse to give control of their bodies to local, state and federal politicians.

They are people of color and their allies demanding an end to systemic racism and massive racial inequities that exist throughout our society.

They are immigrants and their allies fighting to end the demonization of undocumented people and for comprehensive immigration reform.

When we talk about oligarchy, let us be clear about what we mean. Right now, in the United States of America, three families control more wealth than the bottom half of our country, some 160 million Americans. The top 1% own more wealth than the bottom 92% and 49% of all new income generated today goes to the top 1%. In fact, income and wealth inequality today in the United States is greater than at any time since the 1920s.

And when we talk about oligarchy, it is not just that the very rich are getting much richer. It is that tens of millions of working-class people, in the wealthiest country on earth, are suffering under incredible economic hardship, desperately trying to survive.

Today, nearly 40 million Americans live in poverty and tonight, 500,000 people will be sleeping out on the streets. About half of the country lives paycheck to paycheck as tens of millions of our people are an accident, a divorce, a sickness or a layoff away from economic devastation.

While many public schools throughout the country lack the resources to adequately educate our young people, we are the most heavily incarcerated nation on earth.

After decades of policies that have encouraged and subsidized unbridled corporate greed, we now have an economy that is fundamentally broken and grotesquely unfair.

Even while macroeconomic numbers like GDP, the stock market and the unemployment rate are strong, millions of middle class and working people struggle to keep their heads above water, while the billionaire class consumes the lion’s share of the wealth that we are collectively creating as a nation.

In the midst of a so-called booming economy real wages for the average worker have barely risen at all. And despite an explosion in technology and worker productivity, the average wage of the American worker in real dollars is no higher than it was 46 years ago and millions of people are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.

And here is something quite incredible that tells you all you need to know about the results of unfettered capitalism. All of us want to live long, happy, and productive lives but in America today the very rich live on average 15 years longer than the poorest Americans.

In 2014, in McDowell County, West Virginia, one of the poorest counties in the nation, life expectancy for men was 64 years. In Fairfax County, Virginia, a wealthy county, just 350 miles away, life expectancy for men was nearly 82 years, an 18-year differential. The life expectancy gap for women in the two counties was 12 years.

In other words, the issue of unfettered capitalism is not just an academic debate, poverty, economic distress and despair are life-threatening issues for millions of working people in the country.

While the rich get richer they live longer lives. While poor and working families struggle economically and often lack adequate health care, their life expectancy is declining for the first time in modern American history.

Taken together, the American Dream of upward mobility is in peril. In fact, if we don’t turn things around, our younger generation will, for the first time in living memory, have a lower standard of living than their parents. This is not acceptable.

Globally, the situation is even more shocking with most of the world’s wealth concentrated among a very few, while billions of people have almost nothing. Today, the world’s richest 26 billionaires now own as much wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet – half of the world’s population.

But the struggle we are facing today is not just economic.

Across the globe, the movement toward oligarchy runs parallel to the growth of authoritarian regimes – like Putin in Russia, Xi in China, Mohamed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Viktor Orbán in Hungry among others.

These leaders meld corporatist economics with xenophobia and authoritarianism. They redirect popular anger about inequality and declining economic conditions into violent rage against minorities — whether they are immigrants, racial minorities, religious minorities or the LGBT community. And to suppress dissent, they are cracking down on democracy and human rights.

In the United States, of course, we have our own version of this movement – which is being led by President Trump and many of his Republican allies who are attempting to divide our country up and attack these same communities. How sad it is that President Trump sees these authoritarian leaders as friends and allies.

This authoritarian playbook is not new. The challenge we confront today as a nation, and as a world, is in many ways not different from the one we faced a little less than a century ago, during and after the Great Depression in the 1930s. Then, as now, deeply-rooted and seemingly intractable economic and social disparities led to the rise of right-wing nationalist forces all over the world.

In Europe, the anger and despair was ultimately harnessed by authoritarian demagogues who fused corporatism, nationalism, racism and xenophobia into a political movement that amassed totalitarian power, destroyed democracy, and ultimately murdering millions of people — including members of my own family.

But we must remember that those were not the only places where dark forces tried to rise up.

Today, we are all rightly repulsed by the sight of neo-Nazis and Klansmen openly marching in Charlottesville, VA, and we are horrified by houses of worship being shot up by right-wing terrorists. But on February 20, 1939, over 20,000 Nazis held a mass rally – not in Berlin, not in Rome, but in Madison Square Garden, in front of a 30-foot-tall banner of George Washington — bordered with swastikas — in New York City.

But back then, those American extremists could not replicate the success of their authoritarian brethren across the ocean because we in the United States, thankfully, made a different choice than Europe did in responding to the era’s social and economic crises.

We rejected the ideology of Mussolini and Hitler – we instead embraced the bold and visionary leadership of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then the leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Together with organized labor, leaders in the African American community and progressives inside and outside the Party, Roosevelt led a transformation of the American government and the American economy.

Like today, the quest for transformative change was opposed by big business, Wall Street, the political establishment, by the Republican Party and by the conservative wing of FDR’s own Democratic Party. And he faced the same scare tactics then that we experience today — red baiting, xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.

In a famous 1936 campaign speech Roosevelt stated, “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

“They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.

“Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

Despite that opposition, by rallying the American people, FDR and his progressive coalition created the New Deal, won four terms, and created an economy that worked for all and not just the few.

Today, New Deal initiatives like Social Security, unemployment compensation, the right to form a union, the minimum wage, protection for farmers, regulation of Wall Street and massive infrastructure improvements are considered pillars of American society.

But, while he stood up for the working families of our country, we can never forget that President Roosevelt was reviled by the oligarchs of his time, who berated these extremely popular programs as “socialism.”

Similarly, in the 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson brought about Medicare, Medicaid and other extremely popular programs, he was also viciously attacked by the ruling class of this country.

And here is the point. It is no exaggeration to state, that not only did FDR’s agenda improve the lives of millions of Americans, but the New Deal was enormously popular politically and helped defeat far-right extremism.

For a time.

Today, America and the world are once again moving towards authoritarianism — and the same right-wing forces of oligarchy, corporatism, nationalism, racism and xenophobia are on the march, pushing us to make the apocalyptically wrong choice that Europe made in the last century.

Today, we now see a handful of billionaires with unprecedented wealth and power.

We see huge private monopolies — operating outside of any real democratic oversight and often subsidized by taxpayers – with the power to control almost every aspect of our lives.

They are the profit-taking gatekeepers of our health care, our technology, our finance system, our food supply and almost all of the other basic necessities of life. They are Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and giant agri-businesses.

They are the entities with unlimited wealth who surround our nation’s capitol with thousands of well-paid lobbyists, who to a very significant degree write the laws that we live under.

Today, we have a demagogue in the White House who, for cheap political gain, is attempting to deflect the attention of the American people away from the real crises that we face and, instead, is doing what demagogues always do — and that is divide people up and legislate hatred. This is a president who supports brutal family separations, border walls, Muslim bans, anti-LGBT policies, deportations and voter suppression.

It is my very strong belief that the United States must reject that path of hatred and divisiveness — and instead find the moral conviction to choose a different path, a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love.

It is the path that I call democratic socialism.

Over eighty years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped create a government that made transformative progress in protecting the needs of working families. Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion.

This is the unfinished business of the Democratic Party and the vision we together must accomplish.

In order to accomplish that goal, it means committing ourselves to protecting political rights, to protecting civil rights – and to protect economic rights of all people in this country.

As FDR stated in his 1944 State of the Union address: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”

Today, our Bill of Rights guarantees the American people a number of important constitutionally protected political rights. And while we understand that these rights have not always been respected and we have so much more work to do, we are proud that our constitution guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, a free press and other rights because we understand that we can never have true American freedom unless we are free from authoritarian tyranny.

Now, we must take the next step forward and guarantee every man, woman and child in our country basic economic rights – the right to quality health care, the right to as much education as one needs to succeed in our society, the right to a good job that pays a living wage, the right to affordable housing, the right to a secure retirement, and the right to live in a clean environment.

We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights.

That is what I mean by democratic socialism.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

To realize this vision, we must not view America only as a population of disconnected individuals, we must also view ourselves as part of “an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” as Dr. King put it. In other words, we are in this together.

We must see ourselves as part of one nation, one community and one society — regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or country of origin.

This quintessentially American idea is literally emblazoned on our coins: E Pluribus Unum. From the many, one.

And, I should tell you, it is enshrined in the motto of our campaign for the presidency — Not me, Us.

Let me be clear. I do understand that I and other progressives will face massive attacks from those who attempt to use the word “socialism” as a slur. But I should also tell you that I have faced and overcome these attacks for decades — and I am not the only one.

Let us remember that in 1932, Republican President Herbert Hoover claimed that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was, “a disguise for the totalitarian state.”

In 1936 former Democratic New York Governor and presidential candidate Al Smith said in a speech about FDR’s New Deal policies, “Just get the platform of the Democratic Party and get the platform of the Socialist Party and lay them down on your dining-room table, side by side.”

When President Harry Truman proposed a national health care program, the American Medical Association hired Ronald Reagan as their pitchman.

The AMA called the legislation that stemmed from his proposal “socialized medicine” claiming that White House staff were, “followers of the Moscow party line.”

In 1960, Ronald Reagan in a letter to Richard Nixon wrote the following about John F. Kennedy: “Under the tousled boyish haircut is still old Karl Marx.”

In the 1990s, then Congressman Newt Gingrich claimed President Bill Clinton’s health care plan was “centralized bureaucratic socialism.”

The conservative Heritage Foundation has claimed that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was “a step towards socialism.”

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner claimed the stimulus package, the omnibus spending bill and the budget proposed by President Barack Obama were “all one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment.”

In this regard, President Harry Truman was right when he said that: “Socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years… Socialism is what they called Social Security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.”

Now let’s be clear: while President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism, they don’t really oppose all forms of socialism.

They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires.

Let us never forget the unbelievable hypocrisy of Wall Street, the high priests of unfettered capitalism.

In 2008, after their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior created the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression — with millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings — Wall Street’s religious adherence to unfettered capitalism suddenly came to an end.

Overnight, Wall Street became big government socialists and begged for the largest federal bailout in American history — some $700 billion from the Treasury and trillions in support from the Federal Reserve.

But it’s not just Wall Street that loves socialism — when it works for them. It is the norm across the entire corporate world.
The truth is corporate America receives hundreds of billions of dollars in federal support every single year, while these same people are trying to cut programs that benefit ordinary Americans.

If you are a fossil fuel company, whose carbon emissions are destroying the planet, you get billions in government subsidies including special tax breaks, royalty relief, funding for research and development and numerous tax loopholes.

If you are a pharmaceutical company, you make huge profits on patent rights for medicines that were developed with taxpayer funded research.

If you are a monopoly like Amazon, owned by the wealthiest person in America, you get hundreds of millions of dollars in economic incentives from taxpayers to build warehouses and you end up paying not one penny in federal income taxes.

If you are the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, you get massive government subsidies because your low wage workers are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing in order to survive — all paid for by taxpayers.

If you are the Trump family, you got $885 million worth of tax breaks and subsidies for your family’s housing empire that is built on racial discrimination.

When Trump screams socialism, all of his hypocrisy will not be lost on the American people. Americans will know that he is attacking all that we take for granted: from Social Security to Medicare to veterans health care to roads and bridges to public schools to national parks to clean water and clean air.

When Trump attacks socialism, I am reminded of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”

And that is the difference between Donald Trump and me. He believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful.

I believe in a democratic socialism that works for the working families of this country.

What I believe is that the American people deserve freedom – true freedom.
Freedom is an often used word but it’s time we took a hard look at what that word actually means. Ask yourself: what does it actually mean to be free?

Are you truly free if you are unable to go to a doctor when you are sick, or face financial bankruptcy when you leave the hospital?

Are you truly free if you cannot afford the prescription drug you need to stay alive?

Are you truly free when you spend half of your limited income on housing, and are forced to borrow money from a payday lender at 200% interest rates.

Are you truly free if you are 70 years old and forced to work because you lack a pension or enough money to retire?

Are you truly free if you are unable to go to attend college or a trade school because your family lacks the income?

Are you truly free if you are forced to work 60 or 80 hours a week because you can’t find a job that pays a living wage?

Are you truly free if you are a mother or father with a new born baby but you are forced to go back to work immediately after the birth because you lack paid family leave?

Are you truly free if you are a small business owner or family farmer who is driven out by the monopolistic practices of big business?

Are you truly free if you are a veteran, who put your life on the line to defend this country, and now sleep out on the streets?

To me, the answer to those questions, in the wealthiest nation on earth, is no, you are not free.

While the Bill of Rights protects us from the tyranny of an oppressive government, many in the establishment would like the American people to submit to the tyranny of oligarchs, multinational corporations, Wall Street banks, and billionaires.

It is time for the American people to stand up and fight for their right to freedom, human dignity and security.

This is the core of what my politics is all about.

In 1944, FDR proposed an economic bill of rights but died a year later and was never able to fulfill that vision. Our job, 75 years later, is to complete what Roosevelt started.

That is why today, I am proposing a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights.

A Bill of Rights that establishes once and for all that every American, regardless of his or her income in entitled to:

  • The right to a decent job that pays a living wage
  • The right to quality health care
  • The right to a complete education
  • The right to affordable housing
  • The right to a clean environment
  • The right to a secure retirement
Over the course of this election my campaign has been releasing — and will continue to release — detailed proposals addressing each of these yet to be realized economic rights.

We will also address the attacks that are being launched each day against the civil rights and civil liberties of our people.

And let me be absolutely clear: democratic socialism to me requires achieving political and economic freedom in every community.

And let me also be clear, the only way we achieve these goals is through a political revolution – where millions of people get involved in the political process and reclaim our democracy by having the courage to take on the powerful corporate interests whose greed is destroying the social and economic fabric of our country.

At the end of the day, the one percent may have enormous wealth and power, but they are just the one percent. When the 99 percent stand together, we can transform society.

These are my values, and that is why I call myself a democratic socialist.

At its core is a deep and abiding faith in the American people to peacefully and democratically enact the transformative change that will create shared prosperity, social equality and true freedom for all.


International Member
The Pundits Wrote Off Bernie’s Candidacy. In Iowa and New Hampshire, He Proved Them Wrong.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Feb. 1, 2020.

Goodbye, Joe Biden.
Bernie Sanders is now the undisputed frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Last week, in the Iowa caucuses, Sanders won the popular vote by a clear margin in both the first and second rounds. On Monday, he took the lead in a national Quinnipiac University poll for the first time in the 2020 Democratic race.

And yesterday, in New Hampshire, Sanders won with a narrow victory over former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden came in fifth.

What a difference a year makes. When he launched his second presidential campaign, in February 2019, the independent senator from Vermont was mocked and written off by much of the pundit class. The Washington Post’s Henry Olsen called him a “one-hit wonder,” adding: “After a few concerts that attract ever more ‘selective’ audiences, he will likely drop out and retire, his influence consigned to history.” (On Monday night, a whopping 7,500 people turned out for a Sanders rally headlined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as rock band The Strokes, in Durham, New Hampshire.)

On Twitter, Olsen’s fellow Post columnist Jennifer Rubin described Sanders as “yesterday’s news” and suggested he would face “stiff competition for youth vote” from Beto O’Rourke. (O’Rourke quit the race in November, while Sanders won almost half of 17- to 29-year-olds in Iowa and more young voters in New Hampshire than “all of the other candidates combined.”)

Yet another Post columnist, David Von Drehle, wrote how Sanders would find “that his moment is gone, his agenda absorbed by more plausible candidates, his future behind him.”

Then there was MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who claimed Sen. Elizabeth Warren would “blow out Bernie pretty early on. Bernie will lose his votes to her.” (Warren, for the record, came third in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire.)

MSNBC political contributor Jason Johnson went even further: “I see Bernie Sanders launching his campaign and by August, realizing he won’t be in the top five in Iowa, and dropping out.”

Do they never learn? For the second presidential cycle in a row, the political pundits have had to eat crow. During the 2016 race, former Obama strategist David Axelrod dismissed Sanders as the candidate with whom Democratic voters would only “flirt” or have a “fling” with. The Vermont senator went on to win 13 million votes and 23 states.

Four years later, Sanders has come from behind to dominate the first two contests of the 2020 Democratic race. In Iowa, he declared victory while calling for a partial recanvass of the chaotic and messy results. Remember: Over the past four decades, no candidate has won in both Iowa and New Hampshire and then failed to win the nomination.

Sanders beat Buttigieg by only a narrow margin in New Hampshire — especially compared to his 22-point victory over Hillary Clinton in the Granite State in 2016. Yet a win is a win, especially in the crowded 2020 field, and the only democratic socialist in this race now has what the New York Times has rightly called “that most prized and nebulous of assets: momentum.” Up next are the Nevada caucuses on February 22, where only a single percentage point separates Biden from Sanders. In South Carolina, which goes to the polls on February 29 and where Biden once led by a whopping 31 points, Sanders has narrowed the former vice president’s lead to 8 points in the latest Zogby Analytics poll.

Biden, though, is in freefall: an embarrassing fourth in Iowa, a humiliating fifth in New Hampshire. Back in December, I argued on CNN that mainstream media organizations were ignoring the possibility that Sanders could win three of the first four states. In fact, he could now end up winning all four of them.

No wonder Democratic Party elites are panicking. We hear the same tired arguments about Sanders lacking “electability.” These arguments conveniently ignore the fact that Sanders beats Trump in head-to-head polling; that the Vermont senator is the most popular member of the Senate; and that this self-proclaimed socialist has both the highest “net favorability rating” among Democratic voters as well as the most enthusiastic base.

Plus, the only way to test “electability” is through actual elections, and so far Sanders is two for two. Iowa and New Hampshire, though, weren’t only victories for the senator from Vermont; they were also victories for Sanders’s signature issue, Medicare for All. Asked last week in an entrance poll how they felt about “replacing all private health insurance with a single government plan for everyone,” 57 percent of Iowa caucus-goers said they backed it, while only 38 percent were opposed.

In New Hampshire, on Tuesday, again almost six in 10 voters said they supported a Medicare for All system over the current private insurance system, according to an early exit poll.

Yet again, the pundits and prognosticators were wrong. “Iowa Democrats worry ‘Medicare for All’ hurts key industry,” read the headline in the Associated Press in December. “In Iowa, Single Payer ‘Medicare For All’ Loses Ground,” declared Forbes in August. “Medicare For All Isn’t That Popular — Even Among Democrats,” proclaimed FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver a month earlier.

“We’ve heard a lot about how Bernie Sanders is so ‘wildly out-of-touch’ with the Democratic electorate,” observed CNN contributor Kirsten Powers on Tuesday night.

“Well, that’s not actually true.”

The message from Iowa and New Hampshire is clear. It was a big, big mistake to write off both Bernie Sanders and his No. 1 policy proposal. So going forward, will his critics make that same mistake again?


Rising Star
Super Moderator
Bernie Sanders Gets a Rude Awakening

Super Tuesday’s clearest message: While the senator has inspired a passionate depth of support, the breadth of his coalition remains too limited to win the nomination

Joe Raedle / Getty

Bernie Sanders’s self-proclaimed “political revolution” crashed into a wall of resistance inside the Democratic Party last night.

After a remarkable 72 hours that saw top party leaders consolidate behind Joe Biden, a panoramic array of key party voting groups coalesced around the former vice president—and against Sanders—in the coast-to-coast competition, according to exit polls conducted in almost all the states that voted. Biden captured at least nine of the 14 states voting, including some—such as Minnesota and Oklahoma—where Sanders won big in 2016.

The surprisingly decisive result left Sanders, a candidate who prides himself on his pile-driver-like consistency, facing a new challenge: finding a second act that can appeal to voters beyond the fervid base he has established. The evening’s clearest message was that while the senator from Vermont has inspired a passionate depth of support, the breadth of his coalition remains too limited to win the nomination.

Sanders reached 33 percent or more of the vote in just five of the 14 states that voted (including his home state of Vermont) and did not exceed 36 percent, his share in Colorado. Biden had a higher ceiling: He won at least 39 percent in seven states and roughly a third of the vote in three others. Stanley B. Greenberg, a veteran Democratic pollster, argued that Super Tuesday’s results establish Biden as the clear front-runner for the nomination at the convention in July.

“Sanders has made no effort to reach out beyond his voters, his movement, his revolution,” Greenberg said. “It just has not grown. It is an utterly stable vote that is grounded in the very liberal portion of the Democratic Party, but he’s so disdainful of any outreach beyond that base. He seems content to just keep hitting that drum.”

Last night’s results could cull other candidates in the race sooner than later. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, despite spending a breathtaking $234 million on advertising, did not win a single state; he’d poured $77 million into California and $57 million into Texas, and finished behind Sanders and Biden in both of them. Aides said he was reassessing his candidacy after those disappointing results. Elizabeth Warren, who has pledged to fight on until the convention, lost her home state of Massachusetts and in the exit polls showed only trace levels of support among any group other than her core constituency of college-educated whites.

The results did not ensure a Biden nomination or a Sanders defeat. Sanders still won four states, including a solid-if-not-crushing victory in California, the largest prize on the board. He retained enthusiastic backing from his base: young voters, the most liberal voters, and Latinos, the key group that he has moved in his direction since his first bid in 2016. Sanders’s small-donor fundraising remains unparalleled. And big showdowns are looming over the next two Tuesdays, including in Florida, Arizona, and a quartet of Rust Belt battlegrounds: Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan.

But if Biden wins next week in Michigan, a state Sanders captured four years ago, the rationale for the senator’s candidacy could quickly become murky.

Last night, Sanders failed on almost every front to enlarge his coalition. He faced a sharp recoil from groups that have long been the most skeptical of him, including African Americans and older voters. Biden, conversely, received exactly the kind of consolidation among black voters that his campaign had hoped for after his strong performance in South Carolina: He carried about three-fifths or more of African American voters in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, and Alabama and a majority in Tennessee, according to the exit polls. Outside of Vermont, Sanders faced cavernous deficits among voters 45 and older, who composed a clear majority of the electorate in most states.

Across the country, Sanders also lost ground among white voters up and down the socioeconomic ladder. College-educated white voters, who on the whole had been skeptical of both men until Biden won them in South Carolina, broke decisively for the former vice president in most states. Simultaneously, in most states, Biden reversed Sanders’s previously consistent advantage among white voters without a college degree.



Rising Star
Super Moderator
Seems they were right.


Bernie Sanders Reached Out to Black Voters. Why Didn’t It Work?

The democratic socialist champions underrepresented groups. So far they’ve voted, en masse, for his rival.

MARCH 10, 2020

Two years ago, Bernie Sanders journeyed south to trace the history of a past revolution, and to imagine a new one.

On April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., thousands of people gathered on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, for a rally and a march. Sanders was one of the speakers. He took the stage and gripped the podium with one hand, the microphone with the other. “Dr. King was not just a great civil-rights leader,” Sanders, who had not officially announced that he would run for president again, said. “He was a nonviolent revolutionary!” The crowd broke into applause as he paused for a moment. “He was a man who wanted to transform our country morally, economically, and racially.” It wasn’t enough to simply remember King, Sanders explained: People needed to follow in his footsteps

Later that day he traveled farther south, to Jackson, Mississippi, where, in June 1963, the famous civil-right activist Medgar Evers—who led economic boycotts and voter-registration drives in the state—was murdered in his driveway by a white supremacist after an NAACP meeting. The city’s mayor is now Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a 36-year-old who wants to make Jackson the most “radical city on the planet.” Onstage at the Thalia Mara Concert Hall, the pair had an hour-long conversation about economic exploitation—one of the three evils King railed against—and economic justice.

Each stop on Sanders’s journey through the South doubled as early outreach to a demographic he would desperately need if and when he sought the presidency again.

Read: The establishment strikes back.

Sanders’s agenda—dismantling broken systems and replacing them with ones that benefit working-class people, regardless of race—is intimately bound up with the nation’s civil-rights legacy. But, some argue, Sanders has struggled to clearly articulate that connection in a way that earns black voters’ support.

When Sanders first ran for president, in 2016, he excited white progressives who were not interested in Hillary Clinton’s brand of moderate politics. His base was young and energetic, but it was light on black support. Sure, a small majority of black voters under 30 supported him, but they made up just 3 percent of the black electorate in the primary. Black activists argued that his campaign did not pay enough attention to racial violence and inequities in the criminal-justice system. His speeches were frequently interrupted by members of Black Lives Matter, who sought to push candidates to be more aggressive on racial issues. They attempted similar protests of Clinton but were stymied. (At least on one occasion, they were blocked at the door by Secret Service agents.) Clinton’s events were stage-managed to the finest detail; Sanders’s were more DIY and raucous.

Sanders has admitted that his 2016 campaign was “too white.” Indeed, his inability to excite a large group of voters beyond his majority-white base led to a pummeling across the South. Older black voters knew Clinton; Sanders was the one rolling the boulder uphill. He lost the black vote by 90 percent in Arkansas, by 86 percent in South Carolina, and by 89 percent in Tennessee. In Missouri, where he lost by the slim margin of 0.2 percent, he lost the black vote by 67 percent.

For many voters, the 2016 election was their first introduction to the Vermont senator with the unkempt hair and radical ideas. He knew more people would know his name if he ran again in 2020, but he needed to do more: He needed to hire a more diverse staff, attend events at historically black colleges and universities, speak to black media and black people directly, and, perhaps more than anything, listen to black voices.

He did all that. But despite his efforts, the support never quite materialized. From the South Carolina primary through Super Tuesday, among black voters, Sanders was trounced by former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders offered a revolution; voters rebuffed it. The black people who did support Sanders tended to be younger—and young people tend to vote at lower rates than older people do.

Tonight, exit polls showed that Sanders lost the black vote in Mississippi by 71 points—84 percent of black voters supported Biden, and just 13 percent supported Sanders. Sanders’s performance among black voters was just 2 percentage points better than it was in 2016. Cable networks called the race as soon as the polls closed: another decisive victory in the South for Biden.

The stagnant numbers raise interesting questions:

Does Sanders’s revolution simply need more time? Did voters not know enough about what his policies could do for them? Or, more plainly, did they simply prefer Biden? If the Sanders movement—Not me. Us—is going to win, either now or in the future, it needs to figure out a way to sway southern black voters to its cause.​
Some black people in the South are already on board for radical change, though, and they are trying to bring others with them.​

Lumumba, whose beard is just beginning to show flecks of gray at its ends, is a rising star of progressive politics. And he’s seen the limitations of politics as practiced.

“No matter who’s been president, no matter whether we’ve been told that the economy is thriving or we’re in a recession, we’ve still been at the bottom,” Lumumba told me during his layover in Atlanta on Friday. He was headed to Detroit to join Sanders for a rally before the Michigan primary. “People may participate in the pageantry because they don’t believe that it’s really going to affect their lives in a grand way.”

Voting becomes pageantry when those who do so aren’t able to actively engage with the candidates, their staffs, and, most important, their ideasA contender shouldn’t become the candidate through an exercise less participatory than procedural,, he said. he argued. He hoped that the people of his city—which is more than 80 percent black—would be able to experience the political process more deeply this time around.

In mid-February, Arekia Bennett, an organizer with Mississippi Votes and the Movement for Black Lives, staged a “people’s caucus,” which involved more than 100 residents of Jackson. The event gave voters a chance to hear directly from staff members representing several candidates, including Biden, Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Michael Bloomberg. Sanders won the caucus’s mock vote overwhelmingly, and Lumumba based his endorsement on that result.

It was an intimate experience, the kind of thing Lumumba had imagined when he and three other southern black mayors wrote an open letterto candidates last September. The letter outlined the roadmap for 2020 Democrats to win not only their support, but the support of their communities. “We didn’t want it to be a perfunctory experience,” he told me. “It needed to be substantive.”

But a little over 100 people is hardly representative of all of Jackson, a city of roughly 170,000. “My fear in Jackson, just like my fear around the nation, is that not enough people get a chance to experience that,” Lumumba confessed. “That was a small sample size of the city in an atypical situation not only for Jackson to get to experience, but that most other southern states don’t get to experience.”

The primary process is such that candidates spend inordinate amounts of time and money in very white states—Iowa and New Hampshire—trying to convince voters that they are the right candidate to address their issues. That creates a lopsided process in which voters in places like Sumter County, Alabama, and Leflore County, Mississippi, have very little interaction with the presidential nominating contest. That does not mean voters in these states are uninformed; rather, they are not able to engage with contenders in the same way as they would if they lived in a place like Sioux City, Iowa. “People feel more comfortable when you can stand toe-to-toe with them and let them know what you stand for,” Lumumba told me. “That’s their opportunity to kind of gauge your sincerity.”

Sanders has been criticized in recent weeks for skipping events where he might have had the opportunity to engage with more southern black voters. He did not attend the Bloody Sunday march in Selma after losing to Biden in the South Carolina primary, and canceled a rally in Jackson—where he was expected to appear with Lumumba—in order to campaign in the vital primary state of Michigan. (“I can’t imagine the demands of a national campaign,” Lumumba told me, and Sanders is not a stranger to the city, having held events there in the past, “so we understand.”)

When I asked Lumumba about how the primary process could have gone differently for Sanders, he stopped for a moment. Then he considered how Sanders performed in caucuses rather than primaries; perhaps if there were ranked-choice voting, as in the Jackson people’s caucus, Sanders would have won a larger share of black voters. But he kept coming back to a central theme: If only more people knew how radically different their lives could be—perhaps then they would join the revolution.

Sanders’s movement believes that progressive politics can fundamentally change lives by raising wages and making college affordable and health care more accessible. This is the message Jesse Jackson preached when he ran for president in 1984 and 1988. And it’s the one that led Jackson to endorse Sanders on Sunday. “A people far behind cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path,” Jackson said.

If Jackson’s endorsement had come prior to Super Tuesday, it might have helped Sanders’s stock among older black voters. “It really anchors the progressive movement to a long-standing civil-rights agenda,” Katherine Tate, a professor at Brown University who studies black-voter behavior, told me. Her research has shown that black voters have become less liberal since the 1970s, and that they often take cues from elected officials who are willing to compromise on moderate policies.

Christopher Towler, an assistant professor at Sacramento State who runs the Black Voter Project, a public-opinion-survey outfit, agrees. His research has found that black voters are most enthusiastic about candidates whose messages are framed by racial progressivism.
“African Americans prioritize their racial identity more often than not, especially when it comes to politics,” he told me. And that’s particularly true of older black voters, “because everything that has been political in their lives has also been racial.”​
When Representative Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip from South Carolina, endorsed Biden, he explicitly made that connection. Barack Obama’s election is synonymous with racial progress, and Biden is inextricably linked to Barack Obama. “Joe will build on President Obama’s legacy,” Clyburn said as he announced his endorsement. Obama remains the most popular Democrat in America, and several candidates—now including Sanders—have used his purported stamp of approval in ads as a way to gain support not only among black voters but among Democrats more broadly.

But Jackson’s endorsement could have potentially served as a counterweight to Clyburn’s, potentially blunting the beating in South Carolina and preventing the Biden wave on Super Tuesday. (A spokesperson for Jackson, Shelley Davis, told me that Jackson did not endorse sooner because he had been in active conversations with Elizabeth Warren, who departed the race after Super Tuesday. The Biden campaign, he said, did not contact Jackson seeking his support.)

Still, even with Jackson’s endorsement, a revolution was not what black voters were after this time around, Tate suggested. “Had this been any other election without Donald Trump in the race, we would have seen a more earnest battle between the more progressive and moderate elements in the black electorate,” she said. That may be why the most diverse field in history has been winnowed to two white men in their 70s.

Trump is a powerful motivator, but he shouldn’t be the only one, Lumumba said. “I certainly agree that [Trump is] important, but I want it to be substantively different for people living in Mississippi,” he told me. “And just being focused on [Trump] does not serve that end.”

He paraphrased a quote from the Princeton professor Ruha Benjamin:

“We can’t just dismantle the world that we don’t want to live in,” he says. “We have to be the most active participants in creating the world that we do.” Sanders, Lumumba, and other progressives, much like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. before them, are convinced that means radical change.They just have to find a way to convince black voters, too.

Sanders's movement will outlast him. And its next leaders are unlikely to be elderly white men from Vermont. Lumumba is 36, old enough to run for president. And Sanders's most important and effective surrogate, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will turn 35 in 2024. "In order for us to win, we have to grow," she told 10,000 Sanders supporters in Michigan on Sunday. "We must be inclusive. We must bring more people into this movement.''



International Member
Sometimes when it comes to voting, cognitive dissonence comes into play.

Example, Hillary Clinton and her husband brought in the crime bill which incarcerated black on a unpresedented scale, yet black people still voted on mass for her and Bill.